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The Cathedral of St. John the Divine presents John Adams’ El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered

December 21, 2023 @ 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Pay what you wish

American Modern Opera Company (AMOC*) celebrates Latin American poets and the voices of women with its production of John Adams’ El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered, a chamber-music arrangement with libretto by Peter Sellars and concept by AMOC* member Julia Bullock at The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY on Thursday, December 21, 2023 at 7:30 pm.

El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered presented by The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC
Featuring AMOC* with The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, conducted by Christian Reif
Thursday, December 21, 2023 at 7:30 pm
1047 Amsterdam Ave, New York, NY 10025
Tickets are “Choose-What-You-Pay” (ranging from $5-125) and are available online at https://www.stjohndivine.org/calendar/44877/el-nino-nativity-reconsidered or in person at The Cathedral’s box office.

El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered
Music by John Adams
Libretto compilation by Peter Sellars
Concept and musical selections by Julia Bullock
Musical Arrangement by Christian Reif
An AMOC* production

El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered features AMOC* members soprano Julia Bullock, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, bass-baritone Davóne Tines, flutist Emi Ferguson, pianist Conor Hanick, percussionist Jonny Allen,violinists Miranda Cuckson and Keir GoGwilt, cellist Coleman Itzkoff, Doug Balliett on double bass, with special guest artists: contralto Jasmin White, violinists Julia Choi, Miran Kim, Ravenna Lipchik, Jessica McJunkins, and Qianwan Shen, violists Tia Allen, Zoë Martin-Doike, Celia Hatton, and Carrie Frey, cellist SethParker Woods and Titilayo Ayangade, double bass, Christopher Johnson, oboist Roni Gal-ed, clarinetist Gleb Kanasevich, bassoonist Alex Davis, horn player Priscilla Rinehart, keyboardist John Arida, and guitarist Jordan Dodson.

El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered will be conducted by Christian Reif, who created the new arrangement and premiered the initial, distilled arrangement as part of Julia Bullock’s residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where The New York Times called it “intimate, affecting and quietly rich with activism.”

“When devising this distilled rendering of El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered, it was always with the hopeful intention to bring this music and poetry to as many people as possible. What a gorgeous opportunity to share the magnificence and magic of El Niño with more communities and individuals,” said Bullock.

“El Nino is one of my favorite pieces of music,” said Bullock. “It’s one of John and Peter’s greatest collaborations.”

“We believe that El Niño is a resonant part of the holiday canon and are thrilled to share it coast to coast, returning home to The Cathedral of St. John the Divine where it will be presented again without the barrier of cost,” said Courtenay Casey, Executive Director, American Modern Opera Company.

“The Cathedral has always seen art as human participation in the creative action of God. Our great building itself is a sign of how much we value the human search for beauty. John Adams’ El Niño is a contemporary example of art meeting faith. Art doesn’t have to have a religious theme to be a window into God’s creative life, but it is a happy coincidence when the two so beautifully meet. We hope that El Niño will be a permanent part of The Cathedral’s Christmas celebration and a part of how people across the city mark the feast,” said The Very Reverend Patrick Malloy, PhD, Dean of The Cathedral.

About AMOC*
AMOC* (American Modern Opera Company), founded in 2017 by Matthew Aucoin and Zack Winokur, builds and shares a body of collaborative work. As a group of dancers, singers, musicians, writers, directors, composers, choreographers, and producers united by a core set of values, AMOC* artists pool their resources to create new pathways that connect creators and audiences in surprising and visceral ways.

Our 2023/24 season proposes a dialogue between neglected histories and uncertain futures, from colonial legacies to today’s climate crisis. With two significant world premieres, a US-tour launch, a new work in Paris, and our continued commitment to developing multidisciplinary works, this season showcases groundbreaking American artistry on an international scale. In December 2023, we celebrate Latin American poets and the voices of women with John Adams’ El Niño: Nativity Reconsidered, a chamber music arrangement written specifically for AMOC*. El Niño will tour to Opera Omaha, Stanford Live, and Yale University before returning to The Cathedral of St. John the Divine for a second year. Spring 2024 also marks the world premiere of two AMOC* commissions: Music for New Bodies, composed by AMOC* Co-Founder Matthew Aucoin, is a staged song cycle based on recent poems by Jorie Graham. This new work, co-created with director Peter Sellars, explores humankind’s impact on the planet and the presence of immense cycles beyond our control. The work premieres as a co-commission with DaCamara of Houston and Rice University on April 20th at Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music. In June, Comet/Poppea, a co-production with Anthony Roth Costanzo, Cath Brittan, and The Industry debuts at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Los Angeles. Conceived and directed by Yuval Sharon and composed by George Lewis, with a libretto by Douglas Kearney, Comet/Poppea juxtaposes W.E.B. DuBois’ short story The Comet with Monteverdi’s The Coronation of Poppea—framing both a rebuke of opera and a celebration of the form’s radical potential.

Simultaneously, AMOC* continues developing new works, including a multidisciplinary triptych by artistic duo Gerard & Kelly combining music, dance, and film that focuses on Julius Eastman’s life and legacy – in partnership with Los Angeles-based music collective, Wild Up. The first part of this triptych, Gay Guerrilla, premiered in July at the Centre Pompidou (Paris) in partnership with the Opéra national de Paris, & Compagnie, AMOC*, and Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, with the support of enoa and the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

More works will be announced later this season. For more information, visit runningamoc.org.

About The Cathedral of St. John the Divine
Over one hundred years ago, the trustees of The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine conceived its mission to be a house of prayer for all people, an instrument of church unity, and a center of intellectual light and leading in the spirit of Jesus Christ.

Today, as the mother church of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and the seat of its bishop, The Cathedral of Saint John the Divine serves the many diverse people of our diocese, city, nation and world through the worship of God; pastoral, educational and community outreach activities; cultural and civic events; international ecumenical initiatives; and the preservation of the great architectural and historic site that is its legacy.

The Cathedral is one of the few venues in upper Manhattan offering affordable choral and orchestral concerts. While music at The Cathedral is a beloved tradition, it seeks to nurture a new generation of connoisseurs of classical and contemporary music by keeping ticket prices low, livestreaming many concerts so those outside the Tri-state area can attend, and by featuring a rich, diverse tapestry of composers that reflect the multiformity of New York City.


December 21, 2023
7:30 PM - 9:30 PM
Pay what you wish